As you have seen I’ve been keeping bees this year. I had been making sure that they would have enough stores and such to live through the winter. As we’ve had a few warm days I went out to check the hives and was meant with some sadness.
It would seem that one of my hives didn’t make it through the winter. I opened it up and it seems that other than a few bees that seemed too still to be alive the hive was empty of bees. There was still a good deal of stores in it. I can’t say that I’ve noticed any ants or marks where a skunk or raccoon would have gotten to them. I’ve been reading and it seems that if it were mites I should have seen more on the bottom board. I will keep investigating to find out if I can come up with a solution to what happened.
The second hive seems to be doing well. Oddly it was the one I was more concerned about making it through the winter. But I was able to pop the top off and was greeted with a number of bees there. I’ve been seeing them come in and out. Since it has been warmer (we’ve had a few days in February that hit 70) I felt it was a good time to give them some simple syrup. I’ve been seeing some flowers start to bloom, so I hope you don’t get another late cold snap that kills them off. With some care and luck this hive should go on and if things go well there might even be some honey from them this year.
So what is the way forward?
From what I’ve researched so far it looks like the bees from the first hive didn’t die to a disease. So we are going to look at getting a new package and replacing them. The hope is that since there is a good deal of stores in the hive they will have a bit of a spring board this year. I’ve read that in some situations like that they might even be able to yield some honey this year.
The second hive seems to be doing well. So I’m going to let that one boldly press on. I’ve been looking into NUCs and depending on how things go I might see about picking up a NUC box and try to start one up. Otherwise, I think that this hive will be allowed to just do bee things.
I’m also looking to add another hive into the operation. It will most likely be out at the homestead with hive 2. I will probably go with a package and carry on from there.
Also, I am looking at adding to my bee garden and possibly putting in some meadow area as well. And we’ll look to expand out with some mason bees as well.
One thing that I’ve found from many sources during this is that it is like Pooh Bear said “You never can be sure with bees”